Right Off the Chest [*SIGNED* to Mark Hellinger]

Revell, Nellie

Published by George H. Doran Company (c.1923), 1923
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(no dust jacket) [solid copy, light external wear, faint spotting to covers]. (cartoons, B&W photographs) INSCRIBED ("To 'Mark' / Who can read between the / lines of this humble book. / Affectionately" and SIGNED by the author on the ffep. Why doesn't somebody make a movie out of this woman's life? The story of Nellie Revell (1873-1958) is one of those fantastic tales that have pretty much been lost to history. In an era when most women didn't work outside the home at all, she had several successful careers going simultaneously. Her mother's family were "circus people" and her father was a newspaper writer and editor (and later publisher), so she grew up in a kind of nexus between showbiz and journalism. She started writing for newspapers at the age of 16, but also soon found herself doing publicity work, first for an uncle's circus and later in vaudeville and the theatrical world. (She was also an actress for a time.) She worked all over the map as a reporter (Chicago, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco), and by all accounts held her own in the male-dominated newspaper world, insisting on covering hard news and refusing to have her work consigned to the "woman's page." (Among other distinctions, she was said to have been the first woman reporter to cover a professional prizefight, the famous Corbett-Fitzsimmons bout in 1897.) She finally landed in New York, where she became a popular columnist for the New York World, and later the Evening Mail. Her renown took yet another turn in 1919, when she suffered a spinal injury which left her hospitalized, in a concrete body cast, for four years. Broadway and Park Row got together to stage a benefit for her (she'd also suffered a financial disaster), and during the time of her confinement luminaries from both worlds pretty much beat a path to her bedside. In between receiving visitors, apparently, she wrote this book, which appeared just a few months after her release from the hospital in 1923. It's not really a memoir, so much as an anecdotal account of her life, with a great deal about her hospital confinement and her many well-wishers. One of the several delightful things about this book is the roster of noted cartoonists and illustrators who contributed artwork for it, including James Montgomery Flagg (who did the frontispiece), Rube Goldberg, Tony Sarg, T.A. Dorgan (TAD), Thornton Fisher, Harry Hershfield and others. And despite being fifty already, Nellie didn't exactly rest on her laurels after having survived this ordeal: she went on making news as a publicist and radio personality, published three more books, and lived to the ripe old age of 85. The book's introduction is by Irvin S. Cobb, and the inscribee was Broadway columnist (and later movie writer-producer) Mark Hellinger, who at the time this book was published was already a year into his own meteoric rise to journalistic fame (although because the inscription is undated we have no way of knowing exactly when the book was presented to him). Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 15876

Bibliographic Details

Title: Right Off the Chest [*SIGNED* to Mark ...
Publisher: George H. Doran Company (c.1923)
Publication Date: 1923
Binding: Hardcover
Illustrator: Illustrated by James Montgomery Flagg, Rube Goldberg, others
Book Condition: Very Good+
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 2nd printing

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